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Thalli Pogathey

(A post by Deepi)

I watched Accham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada in the theatres and needless to say, it was good money down the drain. Having not listened to the songs at the time of their release too many times, I still did enjoy a pretty fruitful experience at the movies. Thalli Pogathey on the first (and multiple other listens) didn’t hold any specific impact for me. I remember thinking back then that it was an average song made even less memorable by the surprisingly below average picturisation of it.

tp

But then I developed this recent affinity for this particular song and it’s been continuously looping in my playlist. The more I think about it, I like how right in the middle of the song we reach this dramatic point (with the female singer humming and the beats setting in) and it coincides with the narrative’s turning point; a bike crash and the possibility of life fading away now melding with the urgency and desperation of the lyrics and the mood of the song seem to make more sense (Nodi nodiyay neram kuraya! Yen kaadhal ayuzhl karaya!) This is probably the most addictive part of the song for me. I like how the song moves from the love-struck man beseeching for attention from his love interest to this mid-point of some kind of unexpected drama in their lives to moving towards just wanting to finally confess his feelings for her.

While the album in itself is pretty memorable, I don’t think I liked their placement in the narrative thread. It all happens so fast, as opposed to say how it was spaced in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya. In retrospect, I think Thalli Pogathey is one of the best placed songs that very precisely captures the tension in the storyline and elevates the mood, which is until then very light-hearted to the point that you aren’t interested in the proceedings and do not care about the leads’ romance. As a standalone album, it is pretty refreshing but then I suppose Time would determine how well it ages!

Song Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiL5UTTTrxk

Happy Birthday A.R.Rahman

(Written by Aishwarya)

I think I’ve been listening to Rahman’s music forever. There are old home videos where Telephone Manipol plays in the background at a birthday party. There was a time my friends and I choreographed dance moves to Chaiyya Chaiyya when Dil Se came out. Once Sangamam released, I remember dad being enthralled by Shankar Mahadevan’s voice in Varaga Nadhikarai. I repeatedly danced to songs from Lagaan in school. But it wasn’t until years later when I started to take a special interest in Rahman’s music, and eventually music in general.

As an impressionable 12 year old, the Boys album changed my life (about which I have written on the blog with a cheesy title). I went through Rahman’s entire discography one by one between August and December 2003. Dad bought me a CD burner, and I used it to burn the songs of Enakku 20 Unakku 18 on it. I am sure I still have the CD somewhere. When Kangalal Kaidhu Sei released in early 2004, I remember my distinct disappointment. It was a Saturday morning, and I was home listening to the songs on Oosai.com. I thought, “What are these songs….I DON’T LIKE THIS.” I eventually changed my mind.

I welcomed my teenage years with Aayitha Ezhuthu. Before the official launch, I obsessively listened to little snippets that were leaked online. I visited the movie’s official website every day. I had never been more excited about anything, and I have never felt that kind of excitement again either. When the album released, I lost my mind. I had cassettes of the album that I would play every night before I fell asleep. One day Yaakai Thiri was my favourite. The next day it was Dol Dol. On Tamil New Year the same year, I sat in front of the tv to watch a Rahman interview even though I had a final exam the following day. He played this amazing version of Jana Gana Mana. There was another interview with actor Vikram that year in which he was asked what songs he was listening to at the moment. Vikram said he was listening to Nenjam Ellam and that he loved the album. That made me ECSTATIC.

I spent my adolescence listening to Mangal Pandey during power outages, playing Swades on my grandfather’s cassette player, watching the RDB title track everytime it was on tv (which was once very hour), memorizing the lyrics to Machakari with my sister, trying to understand what was going on in the Sivaji soundtrack and so on. Also, I must confess that I gave Dil Gira Dafatan a serious listen only after Amit Trivedi mentioned it in one of his interviews. Thanks AT.

My anticipation for Rahman’s albums is different today. The manic energy is replaced by a mixture of nervousness and curiosity. I put the album on loop, and more often than not, I am left exclaiming, “Ah! Vintage Rahman!”

Happy Birthday to the man whose music has constantly given me company, challenged me and opened me up to a world of possibilities, and given me something to look forward to every few months. Rahman’s music also still makes me want to stop everything I am doing when Humma Humma is on.

 (My sister and me)

Rustic Rahman

(A post by @atlasdanced)

Everybody who was anybody growing up in TN in the 90s will tell you that the album, that turned Rahman from being talked about as the “new kid in the block taking the industry by storm creating interesting music with computer generated sounds” to someone who everyone started taking really seriously as a guy whose success wasn’t going to be with defined by just ‘sound’, was “kizhakku cheemaiyilE”.

Bharathiraja was no longer the director whose movies were going to be box-office hits because it was “A film by Bharathiraja” (his previous 5 thamizh films, captain magaL, nAdOdi thenRal, pudhu nellu pudhu nAththu, en uyir thOzhan & kodi paRakkudhu were disastrous flops). I will stick my neck out here and say that had it not been for the album and the rage it created, the man’s career could’ve hit rock bottom with a 6th. But boy how much the success of the album turned everyone into finally believing that the kid wasn’t a one trick pony! “mAnooththu mandhaiyilE”, “kaththAzha kAttu vazhi” & “edhukku poNdAtti” were such brilliantly done folk numbers that have stood the test of two decades’ time.

There was another movie set in the village, “Uzhavan”, that released around the same time. But it was so damn insufferable that even a decent soundtrack from Rahman couldn’t save it. Although it had just one folksy number, it was enough to make us know what the guy was capable of. ‘mAri mazhai’, in the eminently likeable voice of Shahul Hameed is another number i go back to every now and then.

A handful of such brilliant numbers, picturised in a village backdrop, followed over the years – “senthamizhnAttu thamizhachchiyE” from vaNdichchOlai sinrAsu, “nee kattum sElai” from pudhiya mannargaL, “mazhaiththuLi” & “varAha nadhikkaraiOram” from sangamam, “thirupAchchi aruvALa” from tajmahal (i am obviously not including the few lovely melodies/ballads set in a village backdrop here), but none as supreme, as standout, as complete as my all-time favourite song among such songs one of my all-time favourite songs – “kAdu pottakkAdu” from kaRuththammA.

Everything about this song is well done, the picturisation (check out the video…the movie was centered on the ‘female infanticide’ theme…almost every stage of a woman’s life in a village is covered in 5 minutes of directorial/editorial brilliance…sigh, if only the entire movie had that kind of quality overall!).

The lyrics..ah the lyrics! Vairamuthu is in elements and shows you how much of emotional value lyrics can bring to a song. Every line makes you realise and even feel a bit awkward about the privileges of an urban life.

And what to say of the rendition by the third of the holy trinity of thamizh cinema’s male playback singing of my generation. SPB is a mad genius rockstar, KJY is gifted and should sing all our lullabies but ‘Malaysia’ Vasudevan is the voice that makes you appreciate the extraordinary art of (at the risk of sounding like a The Hindu katcheri review) – soulful rendition. Check out the “ada pOda vekkakkEdu” around 1:59-2:00. An entire life resigned to the tragicomedy of being a puppet in nature’s scheme of things brought out in half a second of nonchalant snigger while singing about it!

I have always thought it was a masterstroke to make Bharathiraja sing those opening lines…i mean, can it even get any rustic?

The minimalistic arrangement fits perfectly well with the mood of the song and one of those songs that i’ve probably heard a zillion times by now. It is *that* special.

“பட்ட மரத்து மேல…எட்டிப்பாக்கும் ஓணான் போல வாழ வந்தோம் பூமி மேல” (because some lines shouldn’t even be transliterated, leave alone translated.)

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Am I a Rahmaniac? Let’s just say i’ll probably be the first guy who’d take a dig at a lot of those as ‘Rahmehniacs’. So why am i writing here? I’m just tired of reminding even my good friends that I am a fan of the man’s music too. Just because i take a dig (almost always in good humour) at some of his recent works, doesn’t make me dislike the other 100+ songs that i love. Does my opinion even matter? No. Then why?

I have been wanting to write in this blog for a while, primarily because the good folks who are managing this blog are two of the nicest folks you’d come across online. People whose ‘mania’ i respect & relate to. This is just for them and of course, the music we all love.

That One Song: Part 4

This is Part 4 of the 4-Part ‘That One Song’ series for Rahmania’s fourth anniversary. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here.  

Anantha

A few days ago, when Aishu asked me to write about one of my favourite ARR songs and added her suggestion (i.e. which song I should write about), I immediately agreed but wondered about the suggestion. I started evaluated other songs too. Then lighting suddenly struck and I immediately stopped thinking about other song choices.

You see, one day, as a wee blogger, wondering what I’d do if I met someone (an Indian that is) who did not know who ARR was, I started making a list (a sort of “ARR for Dummies”, if you will) and posted on my blog. The 1st song on my list that day? Paakathey Paakathey (Gentleman). That was in 2005.

The one line that you will hear from a lot of ARR fans is that his songs will grow on you slowly. This is not always true. Like Paakathey, specifically in my case. The cheerful fun song with the catchy whistling and the violin interludes stole this Rahmaniac’s heart at the first listen itself. And today, 20 years since I first heard it, this song has not aged on me at all. And I can safely say that of all the earworms I get, this one song still repeats the most.

Paakathey not the most popular song from the Gentleman soundtrack by any measure (Chikkubukku, anyone?), but to me, this was the song of the soundtrack, that one song that will always be in my personal all time ARR top 10 list.

And hey, whatever happened to Minmini?

 

Priya (@enthahotness)

Netru Illatha Matram from Pudhiya Mugam is one of the first Rahman songs I can remember. I was ten and spending the summer with my cousins in Chikmagalur. We didn’t have a TV so our time was divided playing carrom, exchanging WWF cards and listening to the tape recorder. That’s what we called it, the tape recorder. When it was my turn we only listened to one song. I rewound that tape until I had written down all the lyrics, or what I thought were the lyrics and sang along to the happiest song I’d heard.

Two decades later as I watch a deliriously happy Revathi running through a field of flowers hugging everything in her sight it doesn’t feel odd because that’s how this song makes you feel – insanely happy. It has remained my theory that those last fifteen seconds of spectacular flute were added to trick you into hitting repeat. It works every time. Try it.

 

Happy_statue

Vennilave (Minsara Kanavu): Probably my first favorite from A. R. Rahman after reaching the part of childhood when one starts to recognize and enjoy music. Who else other than Hariharan and Sadhana could have done justice to this song in that period. You lie down there and wonder if the moon will ever come and listen to them and feel the same way. Surely, this one is up there with other melodies which can only be compared to a mother putting a child to sleep with a sweet request.

 

Vijaynarain

Thirakkadha Kattutukulle (En Swaasa Katre): This song instantly takes me a different world where there is abundant happiness and only positive emotions. Every time I listen to it, it is as if a portal opens that leads me to a secret utopia safely tucked away by nature, only accessible to a fortunate few. Fortunate indeed are we, to be able to surrender ourselves to such a work of art that presents an experience that transcends its own musical form and touches an emotional chord instead, like the tiny fingers of a new born child reaching out and clasping its mother’s hand. Fortunate indeed are we, to experience the magician that is A.R.Rahman.

 

Blogeswari 

If you had asked me on my most favourite ARR song two weeks ago it would’ve been this. A month ago was this. 3 months ago . 6 months ago… wogay wogay, so it keeps changing according to Ragu kaalam, Yama gandam, Kaarthigai Somavaram, Ashtami, Navami & so on.

Recently Sun TV’s flashback section started airing all ’90s ARR songs (Yabbah, I feel like a kezhavi!) And this is one song, whenever on air, takes me back to the fun days in Madras with friends – TVS champ, Kinetic honda rides from Besant Nagar beach to Mount Road Khadi bhavan, Nungambakkam Landmark to …. Pantheon Road shopping, the vetti days spent at Gangotree, Hot Chips, Appappo (Ethiraj) College, friends’ places… Aahaa, the carefree 5 years with the maddest, funnest gumbal were indeed the best. I miss my friends terribly & so so wish I could back to the fun days in Madras.

Shot across Madras featuring Prabhudheva, directed by Shankar with music by Isaippuyal A.R.Rahman, this song with its lyrics, rendition and music truly captures what it was all about – No kavalai, only kalaai! This one’s for you Ush, Rasiks, Tees, Vones, Deepz, Sachu, Kripa and all my Madras dosths – Namma policy eppavume Take it easy policydaan

Thank you Rahmania and congratulations on completing four years! Here’s to many many more.

That One Song: Part 3

This is Part 3 of the 4-Part ‘That One Song’ series for Rahmania’s fourth anniversary. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Mahesh (Cornerd)

It had been a few years since Rahman was at the centre of my universe. I thought I had grown up, and mistakenly, for a brief while, even thought grown beyond Rahman. The delusion of an adult with a new found exposure and appreciation of a bit more varied music than what I was used to. I still cared about every Rahman album but with a somewhat diluted intensity of a fanboy at the crossroads. It’s hard to pinpoint one song, rather than a phase, which slapped me out of the delusion , but if I should, then it has to be Tu bole from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na.  It was neither Rahman’s first foray into jazz nor necessarily his best for Iruvar fans might be up in arms. But this was Rahman subtly, surreptitiously pushing himself and us out of his comfort zone. Enough of the ostentatious, rich orchestration of his Bollywood soundtracks of that time. This was Rahman sucking the weight out of his composition and letting it float in the air like only he can. But that even the Rahman of old did it wonderfully well – Kadhal sadugudu, anyone? This wasn’t just about letting it float, but how? Except the two lines of the pallavi, there’s no hint of a hook at all. The quirky, staccato melody lines in the voice of a lazy, happy, semi-drunk Rahman crooning as if it’s a duet with the Saxophone swirling in and out of the song takes an amorphous shape all its own. This isn’t a genre-defining or genre-bending song, nor is it an astonishing melody which hits the gut and leaves you transfixed.  This is just an utterly delightful lighthearted song but with the unmistakable signature of Rahman stamped all over it.

 

Sudharshan

The greatest Rahman songs face this grueling test of time inside my head, a sort of extreme transformation from ‘why does this song exist?’ to ‘how does this song exist?’. Chithirai Nila took its own while at that, but I never imagined it would fill my mornings and round off my nights like it did, like it does. Maybe if this was the most popular number from Kadal, I wouldn’t have felt this strange connect, exclusivity with it. Happy, sad, indifferent, lifeless; any emotion I’d throw, it would echo back from this infinite soundscape of surprises; the joy of floating away with those serene riffs emanating from the continuum fingerboard; the feeling of being engulfed in the French horn crescendo, soaring over Vairamuthu’s “Naalaiyai thirandhaal nambikkai sirikkum.

 

Ramya

Vellai pookal invokes an emotion within me that I fail to comprehend. Or, maybe the song is trying to tell us that we are not to over-analyze the simple things in life. Who said music must be pompous to be appreciated?

 

Deepika

The closet Rahmaniac in me came to see daylight about 4 years ago, when the album Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya was released. It’s almost impossible for me to speak of Rahman’s work without mentioning this album. It lends a very airy and light feeling to the soul every time I listen to it. Particularly the song Omana Penne! The lyrics and the picturisation conveys the emotion so beautifully. What with that naadhaswaram bit setting in and the lovely girl pulling her hand away playfully, ever so teasingly as he looks on in longing, I just lean back and close my eyes as the tunes steal me away to a faraway land.

 

Maryam Javed

First of all, I feel privileged to be invited in to pen down, rather type in my thoughts on the Indian Mozart’s masterpiece. So thank you, Aishwarya for the same. And, Oh my God! It’s so hard to pick ONE song to write about. So, ‘the one’ song is a part of the music album of Delhi 6. The album released five years back and that’s when, for the very first time, I fell in love with a song! “Rehna Tu, hai jaisa tu‘. The first line of this song defines the meaning of true love. Although this song is primarily about romantic love, to me it’s about loving friends, family, colleagues or even pets, basically everyone who is a part of my life. To me, true love is about loving people with their imperfections and never asking them to change. And it sounds more convincing in Rahman’s voice.

That One Song: Part 2

This is Part 2 of the 4-Part ‘That One Song’ series. You can read Part 1 here

Krtgrphr

Rasathi, or the Big Voice and Brief Life of Shahul Hameed: Unfortunately, most of us will never know what Shahul Hameed looked like when he was singing Rasathi from Thiruda Thiruda. The closest we can get to that knowledge is through this striking cover, and the visible effort put in by a very talented lead singer. What remains to be said about Rasathi that hasn’t already been said in many different ways? Nothing, except that even today it surprises and takes back in its various different forms. Back to where cows amble, time stands still, and the green rolls on for miles — a perfect and misty, quiet, cold morning. In paradise.

Akshay Bhatnagar

I’ve never had a favourite song when it comes to Rahman. But one song that particularly comes to my mind is “Yeh Haseen Wadiya“. The beauty of this song is not just in its lyrics, but also in the freedom you sense when you listen to the music given to this masterpiece. It awakens my soul to a point that I lose track of my worries and troubles. This has been one song which I’ve listened to for years but never got bored of it ever. There was never a point where I started resenting this song because of listening to it on repeat for days on end. The lyrics are good, but the music makes it outstanding.

Harshitha Ravi

Choosing one favourite is going to be impossible, so I’ll just talk about the one song that cropped into my head the minute I thought of A. R. Rahman. Well, New York Nagaram is the chosen one. The album, Sillunu Oru Kaadhal, had two of Rahman’s most popular songs in recent times. While the whole world went for Munbe Vaa, New York Nagaram stuck with me from the very first listen (rare trait in Rahman songs). A song sung by the genius himself, he starts with a very interesting bit of humming. He then takes it to a whole new level, a level which induces goosebumps each time one listens, in the verses that follow. He brings the perfect tone to the song – keeping it soft and low. It is a song that showcases long distance separation in a relationship, and to this day it is the one song I go to when I undergo the feeling of separation from near and dear ones.

Dipak Ragav 

For me it was 2003 The Unity Of Light Concert that made me a proper fan. If I have to narrow it down to one song, I will say Maula Maula (Arziyan) from Delhi-6. It is hard to give reasons especially considering I don’t understand Hindi, so I have no clue about the meaning of the song but there is such a divine effect every time I hear it. Also, Kailash Kher is simply brilliant in this song.

P.S. Sureshkumar 

“Isn’t this the best A.R.Rahman song or just the best song ever?” I ask myself whenever the song “The Journey Home” is on loop in my mind. If I have to settle with just one moment in a song to illustrate Rahman’s innate genius, it would be that second in this song when the strings swell up and pour down heavily like a rain to reprise the main motif towards the end of the pivotal line of the song “Sometimes standing still could be the best move you ever make”. The exhilaration in having to make no choices at all couldn’t be expressed better in music. Most of us in today’s world are perennially in-transit, hanging on to a place or something while always longing for a return to home, whatever, wherever or whenever the Home is. Journey Home is one song that fits all ever. And to me, Rahman’s music is home, and irrespective of what I listen to, the journey has always been towards that moment of listening to a new piece of Rahman’s music for the first time.

 

That One Song: Part 1

It’s a big week for us here. Rahmania is celebrating its 4th anniversary on 14th November 2014! To mark this occasion, we reached out to a bunch of fans asking them to write about one Rahman song that is special to them. The response has been overwhelming! This is Part 1 of a 4 Part Series. We hope you enjoy it! 

Gradwolf

The unending fascination for 90s A.R.Rahman is one thing. The belief that he is no more the force he was then is completely another. 2008 was a monster year for Rahman. The quality may depend on the individual but by sheer quantity, Rahman was everywhere, the Oscar buzz notwithstanding. And then came the behemoth called Delhi 6. While the album is full of tracks vying for a position in Rahman’s top 20 tracks (if that is even possible now – 6 years have passed since 2008, 22 years since Roja), the one that stands out is Dil Gira Dafatan. The video – once we are ready to pardon the bad visual effects – works beautifully within the film’s context – the story of an NRI, coming to grips with his new Indian surroundings and struggling to coexist in a shared space. It may just work as well for Rahman of old, he of the new sound of 90s that drew us all in and the Rahman of new, he belonging to the ones who grew old with him but suddenly found him inaccessible. Or so they thought. Delhi 6 (and this song) is the logic endpoint (or starting point?) of that journey. The captivating Rahman of the 90s coexisting in harmony with the new experimental Rahman. At one point in the video, Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) runs but remains stationary. We thought that was Rahman. But Rahman went miles ahead. It’s us who had to adjust for this quantum leap much like Roshan trying to come to grips with all the changes. (Tu magar hai bekhabar, hai bekhabar)

Rivjot Brar

Bombay Theme is probably the finest composition by AR Rahman. I consider myself a hardcore music fan. Yet, there are hardly any songs that can bring tears to my eyes. Bombay Theme was the first track that got me emotionally drained and tears could not stop coming out of eyes. Despite listening to this song over 1000 times, every hearing still brings goosebumps. Undoubtedly, this composition is one of Rahman’s favorite as well, because the flute performance of Bombay Theme gets featured in almost all of his concerts. The song has been featured in countless international compilation albums: that says almost everything about the quality of this composition.

Dinesh Jayaraman

Pachai Nirame (Alaipayuthey) was, at 11 years old, the first song that I had ever genuinely liked, and the effect it had on me took me quite by surprise. It became my gateway drug into Rahman and Tamil film music in general when I bought the film’s audio cassette (with Kandukondein Kandukondein on the B side as a bonus!). Trying to figure out why I liked this song so much, discovering its various layers and hidden complexities and the interplay between the music and the lyrics taught me my first few lessons in appreciating music. PC Sreeram’s visualization of the song is a treat in itself, and all through my teens, Pachai Nirame was what I imagined falling in love would feel like.

Varun Varghese

Unlike many others, after watching Swades I actually wanted to go out of India only so that I can come back after listening to Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera. I used to have this small globe with me, which I used to rotate while playing Yej Jo Des Hai and stand there like SRK and wait for India to appear.

Shasvathi Siva

Vellai Pookal:

A tune that can make me smile when I’m happy, weep when I’m sad. There’s something very comforting about the song, and at the same time something extremely disturbing about it. The first ever time I heard this song, tears flowed down my cheek mercilessly. It’s not everyday that you can listen to a song as this, because once the play button is pressed, it’s impossible to lay a finger on any other button, other than the replay one.

To sum it up in one line: Magic met Music, and a Maestro sat right in the middle and coalesced the two of them into a single track of bliss.